Birding in Singapore

Subject: Birding in Singapore
From: (Dr Richard Nowotny)
Date: Sat, 05 Jul 1997 12:50:38 +1000
Rohan Van Twest asked about birding opportunities in Singapore, particularly
for short stops (a day or so) - a not atypical opportunity for Australians
these days with Qantas hubbing through Singapore.
I have found Singapore to be a most enjoyable place for some "passage"
birding - clean, convenient, civilised and with enough birds to keep one
interested for a few days (a list of nearly 300, but many of these are
vagrants or rarities).  Two smallish books have been very helpful (in
addition to a standard field guide for SE Asia) and have enriched the
experience - "Birds of Singapore" by Hails and Jarvis (1987, Times
Editions), and "BIRDS - A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Peninsular
Malaysia and Singapore" by Strange and Jeyarajasingam" (1993, Sun Tree
Publishing).  They both give excellent advice (with maps, directions, etc)
on where to go and how to get there, as well as lots of info on the birds
One of the more enjoyable places to visit is the relatively new Sungei
Bulloh Reserve in the north-west of the island (almost as far from Changi
airport as it is possible to be in Singapore!) - just west of Kranji
Reservoir.  One could spend a whole day there most enjoyably, although half
a day will suffice to see over most of the ponds and explore the surrounding
mangroves and thickets. 
I also enjoyed a morning walk from the MacRitchie Reservoir entrance park
through the forest alongside the reservoir to the golf course - not a lot of
birds, but what was there was of very good quality.
I assume that the local guide who is taking you over into Malaysia is Mr
Subharaj.  I understand he is very good and produces excellent lists in both
Singapore and adjacent southern Malaysia.  I balked at his prices and
decided to do it myself - eminently possible in Singapore, although at the
cost of some species of course.  I am sure he will give you quite a bit of
local advice re birding in Singapore.

Richard Nowotny (Melbourne).

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